We’re all Aristoteleans now

Nigel Warburton, whose Philosophy Bites is among the brightest stars in the podcasting firmament, appeared on The Bike Show late last year, with materials scientist Mark Miodownik in a discussion about the talking about the physics and ethics of running red lights.

In the current issue of Prospect Magazine, he takes a deeper look at whether breaking the law can ever be morally justified. In a passage on ‘the red light question’ Nigel writes:

Jack Thurston, of Resonance FM’s Bike Show, argues that cyclists are different from other road users: “I see a bicyclist as a kind of hybrid pedestrian that should be granted the freedom to keep rolling as long as it’s safe to do so. Those who say cyclists should follow precisely the same laws as drivers of motor vehicles are making a basic category mistake.” This is more promising ground, suggesting an Aristotelean approach in which we clear up what the “essence” of a cyclist is understood to be, and also what the telos—or goal—of traffic signalling really is. If the aim is to create a safe flow of traffic without unduly hindering progress of the various users (including pedestrians) then perhaps cyclists should be deemed a special class of road user, and given their own appropriate laws. People like Thurston think that cyclists are not quasi-car drivers, but a species of quasi-pedestrians. Running a red light, on this logic, should be treated more like jay-walking.

You can read the article in full over here.


January is the perfect month to take a closer look at how to stay feeling good on the bike. In the studio to share their expertise are Michael Crebbin, a sports physio specialising in cycling-related problems, and Rebecca Bogue who teaches a yoga class designed especially for cyclists.

Contact Rebecca via the Bodywise studio in the Roman Road, east London. Her yoga for cyclists class is on Thursday nights 8.15 – 9.30pm at Bodywise, 119 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN. Read more about Why Yoga Is Good For Cyclists.

Contact Michael via the Complete Physio clinic. Read more about physiotherapy for cyclists at the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum and at Rollapaluza.

Jumble Jumble


It’s the tenth day of Christmas and this week’s show is like a Christmas stocking with bulges in all the right places. Dr Steve Fabes is about to set off on a four and a half year cycle ride around the world, crossing six continents. He talks about his route, preparations and apprehensions. Any lover of vintage bicycles will be a regular visitor at their local cycle jumble, a fine tradition with a cast of strange but friendly characters. A good place to find out about upcoming cycle jumbles is the Campy Oldy website and there are some pictures from the recent Ripley jumble over here.

Paul Fournel continues his reading from Need for the Bike with a grisly tale of dogs, hospitals, Paris Roubaix and a Black and Decker drill. To buy Need for the Bike, click on the box on the left and Resonance FM will get a few pennies.

Red light means go (or does it?)

Should cyclists stop at red lights? Why do we feel such a strong urge to keep rolling? Should our behavior be guided by the law of the land or the laws of common courtesy? What would Isaac Newton and Thomas Aquinas have to say about the matter? Bringing their expertise to a discussion of the physics and philosophy of cyclists and red lights are Nigel Warburton of the Open University, the popular Philosophy Bites podcast and author of several classic textbooks on philosophy and Mark Miodownik, head of the Materials Research Group at King’s College London and writer and broadcaster.

Wanted: Bicycle Mechanics

This week’s show looks at the chronic lack of bicycle mechanics with the Ninon Asuni of Bicycle Workshop. Ninon founded Bicycle Workshop nearly thirty years ago after deciding she’d had enough of working as a librarian. She’s now among Britain’s most highly regarded bicycle mechanics with a devoted following in London and the rest of the country. Sean Lally and Ian Perkins of Cycle Systems Academy talk about their mission to train a new generation of cycle mechanics and to reinvent the profession.

Plus more from Paul Fournel’s Need for the Bike. This week he talks about landscape and the bicyclist. If you buy the book online from Amazon using the link (left) Resonance gets some of the money. If you’d rather buy it from a shop, then choose the excellent Calder Bookshop in Waterloo. Music from The Vines, Half Man Half Biscuit and Harmonia.

Play on links below.

Calling Time on “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You” (SMIDSY)

smidsy-stop-signThe Bike Show moves into advocacy mode this week with guest in the studio Debra Rolfe, Campaigns Director of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), Britain’s largest cycling organisation with 60,000+ members. Debra is spearheading the CTC’s new campaign against bad driving by motorists called Stop SMIDSY. The aim is to draw attention to the dangers of inattentive dangerous driving and the oh-so-familiar refrain ‘Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You’. We discuss the campaign and how cyclists can report near misses online.

Also in the show is a preview of 116 to Sea, an exhibition of photographs of the Dunwich Dynamo night ride by Joe McGorty. Joe is joined by Dunwich Dynamo godfather Patrick Field. And then there’s the second installment of Paul Fournel reading from Need for the Bike. Phew, all that in just half an hour!

Play MP3 on links below. Other file formats coming soon.

Cycling questions and answers from the Mayor of London: Oct 09

Here are the cycling-related questions from the London Assembly answered by the Mayor this month. The questions cover a wide range of subjects, from lorries killing cyclists (including a question specifically about the Vallance Road/Whitechapel Road junction) to the new cycle superhighways, the London cycle hire scheme and much more.

I’ll be publishing the digest, kindly provided by the GLA, regularly. It’d be great if listeners to the show and readers of the blog would help crowdsource some analysis, give reactions etc in the comments. If there are other questions or follow-up questions that you think should be asked, post them too and I’ll do my best to persuade an Assembly Member to ask them. Continue reading